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wooden driveway gates

Wooden gates may be less coveted than gates of iron or steel, but they’re often more appropriate and certainly more common, especially for garden and entrance gates. For privacy, stockade fences with no gaps between slats are more opaque than almost any kind of metal fence. The organic texture and ambiance of wooden garden gates and driveway gates can blend in more seamlessly, and seem less imposing than wrought iron or aluminum. Vinyl fences can be more durable while offering a similar look to wood, but up close, the heft and grain of boards made of actual wood is unmistakable. But some woods are more manageable over time than others, so let’s examine a few options.

Types of Wood for Gates and Fences

Cedar is a naturally moisture-resistant stock that doesn’t need to be treated with chemicals. The most popular type for fencing is Western red cedar. Knotty cedar is the most recognizable, with knots, blemishes and imperfections that give it more of a country style character than clear grade cedar. Clear grade lumber, however, lasts longer (up to 40 years with proper care), and has a cleaner look. Another softwood to consider, of chemical treatment is acceptable, is Southern treated pine.

Among hardwoods, oak is a popular choice for stockade fences. With its naturally high tannin content, oak fences are resistant to pests and fungal infections. Northern red oak and white oak are used most frequently for residential fencing. Teak, particularly in older stock, is a long-lasting wood which, like clear grade cedar, will last around 40 years. Also in common with its softwood counterpart, teak doesn’t require chemical treatment, and is naturally impervious to pests and harsh weather.

Installation Considerations for Wood Gates

Special attention needs to be paid to the structural properties of wooden driveway gates and fences. Wood posts planted in the ground will degrade and lose their strength, so if you don’t find it aesthetically inconsistent, steel posts are recommended. This is especially true for gate posts, which are much more prone to creep out of alignment with repetitive opening and closing. When fitting the gate, ensure that the posts can handle the load, since wider gates mean heavier panels. If you must use wood posts, pick a material resistant to rotting like redwood or cedar, or a pressure-treated lumber.

Gate hardware should either be made of rust-free components, like stainless steel or molded plastic, or be coated for rust resistance with epoxy or polyester. A wooden gate frame should have an anti-sag gate kit, with a hook and eye turnbuckle, to adjust for eventual wear.

If you take the time to examine the lumber options and fencing styles available for wooden gates and fences, you’re certain to find a solution that’s aesthetically appropriate and within your budget while keeping maintenance hassles to a minimum.

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Driveway gates come in an overwhelming array of styles, so it’s important to focus on the critical features that make for a satisfying long term purchase. Let’s take a look at these features, focusing on modern automatic driveway gates instead of manual ones.

How will your gate opener be powered, and where will the power come from? If your houses electrical mains are too far away, as is the case in most rural settings, you’ll have to rely on solar power. If you need a solar panel, you’ll have to ensure that any surrounding trees don’t block the sunlight.

Driveway Gate Materials and Build Quality

The materials and build quality should be considered before settling on the design of the driveway gate. Do you want wooden driveway gates, metal driveway gates, vinyl? Regardless of the fence panel material, posts should be installed at least 5’ deep to account for wind and any irregularities in slopes, and 5” square tubes of 3/8” thick steel is a good standard for a secure foundation. The tubes for the posts and the rest of the gate should be acid-washed and treated with primer. Acid washing ensures that the final paint job will properly adhere to the metal, and the primer protects the gate against rust. Fence panels made of hot dipped galvanized steel offer most of the look, feel and durability of wrought iron driveway gates at a much lower cost.

The style of gate will depend on your needs and priorities. Economy style gates are quite popular, since sliding driveway gates aren’t feasible for many suburban residences with narrow driveways where the house and the property line are only three or four yards apart. In this situation, a single swing gate is the most practical option. A typical model is a 12” gate reinforced with three cross-members, controlled by a swing-arm opener. This is the most common setup for a do-it-yourself installation. The cost of the gate and the controller (the hydraulic or electromechanical assembly that operates the swing arm) is often under $1500.

As implied above, swing gates usually require less installation and maintenance that sliding gates for residential purposes, unless you already have a fairly large fence to begin with, or live a a pronounced slope. Single swing gates are most often cheaper than dual swing gates by half, since you’re not committed to buying a pair of driveway gate openers. Unless you’re aesthetically attracted to the symmetry of the dual swing gate design, a single swing gate is usually more pragmatic.

Remote Gate Control Systems

Finally, consider what kind of remote access control you’ll want to control the gate. The simplest and most economical style is the one-button remote with a visor clip, like ones for garage doors. The next level would be a keypad controller, allowing the resident to leave the remote behind. The most expensive and feature-complete option would be a keypad with an intercom and camera, allowing the resident to verify guests and buzz them in.

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